Favorites upset in final of beach volleyball

The second national team beat the first in the women’s final of the Greek Beach Volleyball Masters Championship on Sunday on the Dodecanese island of Kalymnos in a match between the two pairs who will represent Greece in next month’s Olympic Games. Thalia Koutroumanidou and Maria Tsiartsiani got the better of Vasso Karadassiou and Vicky Arvaniti, winning 2-1 (9-21, 21-15, 15-12) and becoming Greek champions for the first time since 2005. «We have returned to the top and this is helping our morale ahead of the Olympic Games in Beijing,» said Koutroumanidou. «The other team won fairly,» said Karadassiou, while Arvaniti added, «We hope we are all healthy for Beijing.» In the men’s event, Thanassis Michalopoulos and Manos Xenakis returned to the top spot after a year’s break, defeating Dimitris Soultanopoulos and Giorgos Kotsilianos 2-1 in the final (15-21, 21-19, 15-10). This was the third and final title for the pair, after 2005 and 2006. Michalopoulos announced his retirement after winning the title six times himself. «This is the most beautiful as well as the last title of my career,» said Michalopoulos, thanking Xenakis for his partnership over the last four years.